The Sunnyside Governing Board has called for yet another special board meeting for today at 4:30 pm. As its last official act, the current Board is expected to buyout the contract of Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo.
The buyout was requested by the embattled superintendent after his supporters on the Board, Louie Gonzales and Bobby Garcia lost by landslides in the recall election held earlier this month. While the two remaining Board members Daniel Hernandez and Buck Crouch do not support Isquierdo, according to District sources, they recognize that the environment has become “toxic” under Isquierdo.
Staff has reported that instances of intimidation have increased in recent weeks, under Isquierdo’s administration that has been notorious for its intimidation practices of teachers, parents, and even students.
The agenda for today’s meeting reads, “Consideration and possible adoption of a “Termination of Employment and Settlement Agreement” concerning the Superintendent.”
In response, a handful of mostly mothers have planned a party of sorts for the meeting to celebrate what they hope is an end of a nightmare for so many stakeholders in the District.
This is the last meeting of the “Gonzalez Board.” Gonzales had lorded over the District for years, and his cronies have benefitted from the association.
The two new board members will be sworn in on Tuesday, after the Pima County Board of Supervisors certify the results of the recall.
According to sources, District would like to find cause for terminating Isquierdo’s lucrative contract, but the process would be prolonged and Isquierdo has already tried to lay a foundation for a lawsuit based on his false accusation of racism against some Board members.
Officials say that the District needs to heal and in order for that to happen they need him gone form the District as quickly as possible.
If one were to consider the potential lawsuits the District could face in light of the recent intimidation tactics and Isquierdo’s inexplicable firings of long term employees recently, the District may get off cheap by buying out the superintendent’s contract. If he were to remain, he could cause expensive lawsuits and even irreparable harm to the District.
Officials say that while they understand that the public is angry and “have no tolerance left for him,” they “cannot let vengeance stand in the way of getting the District back on track.”
For year, the District’s resources have been used to benefit a select few of district insiders and their cronies.
The cost of cronyism was epic in one of the poorest districts in the 8th poorest metropolitan area in the country. One prime example that had fueled the recall effort, was the creation of a high-paying-nearly-responsibility-free job for a former Tucson City Council member.
According to sources, the post was created as payback for the Councilman’s decision to refrain from running in a mayoral primary against the Democrat Party’s preferred candidate.
The District became the last stop for City of Tucson employees who had lost their jobs because the City is broke, or because they had committed offenses that resulted in termination, but were part of the good old boy system and needed to be gainfully employed in any capacity. In the name of all that is good for children, the near-do-wells were given positions across the district on every level on the pay scale.
On Sunday night, Board member Buck Crouch, who has fought to bring transparency and accountability to the District, told Facebook friends, “For him,” meaning Isquierdo, “it has always been about the money. But when he is gone, we can concentrate on rebuilding our wonderful school district with the best interests of the students, community, teachers and other staff in mind.”
Chairman of the Recall Committee, Richard Hernandez, said he is” full of hope and faith that, not only the Sunnyside community but all of the residents of Tucson and Pima County will hold all their elected officials accountable. This should also serve as a reminder that all elected officials are public servants,” said the energized and enthusiastic Hernandez. “We have shown what the public can do when they decide that enough is enough.”